New SRO Legislation in San Francisco Preserves Residential Hotel Rooms

Buildings On January 25th, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors Land Use and Transportation Committee approved legislation designed to discourage residential hotel owners from renting out rooms to tourists and to prevent the conversion of affordable housing into boutique hotels and short-term rental units. The legislation stops the practice of renting out Single Room Occupancy (SRO) rooms by the week, requiring instead a 32-day minimum stay in most cases.

The legislation also increases penalties for violations and in lieu conversion fees and strengthens the reporting requirements and enforcement powers for the Department of Building Inspection, which enforces the city’s SRO ordinance. The measure addresses the extreme reduction in the number of SROs, often the affordable housing of last resort for vulnerable residents who cannot keep up with the high rent costs in the Bay Area. The supply of SRO units has dropped from 33,000 units in the 1970s to around 19,000 today despite a 35-year old law limiting conversions to other uses.

On January 31st, the Board of Supervisors anonymously approved the legislation. However, a second vote will be needed for final approval.

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